Posted on Tue 31 October 2017

2017 Planner recap

In January this year I wrote a post detailing the various planner/journal setups I tried throughout 2016 and why each did or didn't work for me. This year (2017) I've changed my mind many, many times, and tried lots of different planners and notebooks. Here's a look at what I liked and what I didn't.

Bullet Journal

I don't think I lasted more than a week with a Bullet Journal setup, but I tried it many times throughout 2017. I love the concepts of the Bullet Journal system: having everything in a single notebook, having more or less room per day depending on what you need, and using rapid logging to keep tasks, appointments, and a journal in one spot.

All of these aspects appeal to me, but I can't seem to function without a pre-printed planner. Even though I always stick to the original Bullet Journal system, which doesn't involve coloured pens or brush lettering or rulers or boxes or complicated layouts, I still found it too much hassle to have to set up my own system in a blank notebook. And I didn't find it enjoyable to use, either, since it was just scribbled in my own handwriting and always looked a right mess.

I also didn't find any future planning method I liked, because most were focused on planning for events months in advance. I think—and plan—in weeks, and the Bullet Journal system isn't really designed for that.

Bullet Journalling was such a failure for me that I don't even have any photos of it. This doesn't mean it's a bad system, but it just doesn't work for me.

Hobonichi Techo Original Avec (A6)

Hobonichi A6 Avec

For a while I used the A6 Hobo for daily to-do lists, and it worked. But I ran into an issue that plagued my setup throughout 2017: I like to have everything together, in one notebook if I can. Or at least inside one cover like my Roterfaden or Traveler's Notebook. But keeping various planners and systems inside a single cover makes everything a bit wonky when the cover sizes don't match what's inside.

Hobonichi inside Traveler's Notebook

I kept my A6 Hobo inside my regular Traveler's Notebook and eventually got sick of it just not being the right size. These days I don't need daily to-do lists anyway.

Hobonichi Weeks

Hobonichi Weeks

I love this planner. As I mentioned already, I think and plan in week-long blocks. The Weeks is perfect for this. It's also small and light without being tiny.

This Weeks is a total mess right now. I've tried lots of different ways of using the Weeks and often gone back to empty or quiet weeks and used them to try out new approaches. I've tried using it horizontally, drawing up a vertical week for my appointments on the blank notes page. I've tried filling it up with short journal-y notes about what happens or how I feel each day, similar to how I used my Jibun Techo.

This is definitely a contender for my 2018 setup.

Jibun Techo Mini

This Jibun ran into the same problem as my A6 Hobonichi. I tried to carry it inside my regular Traveler's Notebook and it just didn't fit well. I quickly got annoyed with how awkward it felt and stopped using it.

More recently I dug out the mini Jibun and tried using it as my regular planner. I wrote in my tasks for each day and week, appointments and events, and later filled in the gaps with journalling, notes, stickers, and washi tape. I really enjoyed this—I find a vertical week layout works great for this approach to planning.

The main downside with this planner is that it's not the same size as anything else, so if I want to carry an actual journal, notebook, or sketchbook with it, I have to carry multiple books instead of having everything neatly in one cover. Apart from that, this is pretty much the perfect planner for me. It's under consideration for next year.

Passport Traveler's Notebook weekly insert

For a while I used this insert for "highlight journalling" or "memory keeping"—i.e. writing one or two short notes per day about how I felt or what happened. I found this insert worked well for this, and stuck with it for some time.

More recently I was writing these same notes elsewhere (e.g. my Jibun Mini, as mentioned above), so this insert went unused. I tried it as a weekly planner for tasks and appointments, but I like having a planner with extra space for those little notes, stickers, and such. The Jibun and Hobonichi Weeks offer that extra room and I really missed it when using the passport insert as a planner.

Regular Traveler's Notebook free weekly + memo insert

This insert is "free" because it's undated. I've jumped in and out of this insert throughout the year and only recently managed to stick with it for a few weeks in a row.

One of my problems with planning is that I find it too easy to ignore my planner and leave it closed for a whole day, or multiple days, and not do any of the things I'd planned to do. For this reason, I prefer planners like the Hobonichi or Jibun Techo that easily lay flat. I can leave them open on my desk and take a peek throughout the day without any effort.

I really like using this insert as a journal, though, so I've already bought the dated version for 2018.

Jibun Techo A5 slim

When I first bought my Jibun Techo, I got the regular size, which is an A5 slim. Throughout this year I've embraced smaller sized planners and notebooks and started to feel that A5 is too big for me, even though in previous years A5 has always been my go-to. I bought the Jibun Mini mentioned above when the A5 slim started to feel too big, and ended up using the mini in a very similar way to the A5 slim.


I'm still deciding on my setup for 2018. Some of these, as I've mentioned, are in the mix. Others I won't consider at all. It's been a good year for experimenting and discovering new options. Hopefully I can learn from all the experimenting this year and find a setup I'm happy with all through 2018.


P.S. I make some stuff you might like: Exist, a personal analytics app to help you understand your life, and Larder, a bookmarking app for developers.

© Belle B. Cooper. Built using Pelican. Theme by Giulio Fidente on github, edited by Belle B. Cooper. Theme inspiration from Jordan Smith and DuoTone snow theme.